Beyond understanding something in theory, we learn a lot by watching other people do something, assessing what works and what doesn’t, and recognizing best practices. So applying our knowledge to an already conducted oral history interview is critical in bolstering our own interview practice.
What practices work in an oral history interview? What can I learn for my own interview skills?
Warm-up (15 minutes):
We ask the participants to suggest criteria to analyze and assess an Oral History interview. We collect ideas on a flipchart. For guidance, refer to the following categories:
Group Work (35 minutes):
Based on the three Oral History interview examples listed in the materials, we ask the participants to form 3 groups and assign each group an interview.
We ask participants to watch the first 10-15 minutes of the assigned interview and to analyze and assess the examples together according to the agreed criteria.
One member of the group keeps notes of the group’s discussion, citing specific examples in the interview (including time codes) to share with all the participants in a 10 minute presentation.
Group Presentations (30 minutes):
We ask each group to share their assessment of the interview, drawing on excerpts from the interview. We ask them not to focus on criticism but to offer alternative approaches (see ‘alternatives method’ in Notes to Facilitators). Each group takes 10 minutes to present and we open the floor for other participants’ reflections.
Plenary Discussion (10 minutes):
We now ask participants to volunteer their thoughts about how watching interview examples helps them imagine their own interview experience.
al-Utruq, Sa’īd Ismāīl. Interview by Mahmud Zaydan. N.D. nn_0001, Al-Nakba Collection, Palestinian Oral History Archive, American University of Beirut (AUB),
Tayyim, Dr. Abdil Jabir Hussein. “Nakba Oral History.” Interview by Rakan Mahmud. September 25, 2011. Palestineremembered.com,
Bechara, Soha. “Untitled Part 1: Everything and Nothing.” Interview by Jayce Salloum (orig format DVM, France/Canada, 2001(1999)),